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UWI academic warns there should be no 'Brexit' in CARICOM

Published:Sunday | June 26, 2016 | 11:57 AM
Sir Hilary Beckles

One regional academic is warning that Britain’s separation from the European Union (EU) will impact the economies of CARICOM members and is urging regional leaders not to allow this to influence a similar decision in the group.

University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice Chancellor Sir Hilary Beckles said Britain’s exit from the EU will pose both short and long term threats to the economic performance of CARICOM.

“Every aspect of Caribbean life will be adversely affected by this development; from trade relations to immigration, tourism to financial relations and cultural engagements to foreign policy,” Beckles said in a media release yesterday.

“There will be a significant redefinition and reshaping of CARICOM -UK engagements. The region's fragile economic recovery is threatened,” he said further.

According to the noted UWI academic, Britain’s action “is a desperate attempt to reinvent a still idealised past in which Englishness is celebrated as a distinct standard not to be entangled or diminished by deep association”.

He said the surprise development should not be taken lightly, as it also threatens regional economic institutions as they are currently structured.

As a result, Beckles said the UWI will be putting on a symposium to facilitate an in-depth academic reflection with a view of stimulating action ahead of this week’s meeting of the regional heads of CARICOM.

"CARICOM should use this development in order to deepen and strengthen its internal operations and external relations to the wider world. It's a moment for CARICOM to come closer together rather than drift apart,” the UWI vice chancellor advised.

“The region should not be seen as mirroring this mentality of cultural and political insularity, but should reaffirm the importance of regionalism within the global context for the future.”